Posted by Dabney B. on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
What do you get when you mix together a zoo, a waterfall, and a skyscraper? Yeah, I’m not sure what you’d call it, either, but you can be your bottom dollar that it would be ridiculously amazing. This sky-zoo-fall isn’t something out of a Dr. Seuss book — Sweden design company VisionDivision seriously wants to build this wacky, hybrid habitat.
VisionDivision submitted their Eden Falls proposal to Argentina’s Buenos Aires with the hopes that they can build the tallest, wettest, and most self-sufficient zoo on Earth.
Their plan is to take a bunch of unused rubble that’s left over from the construction of Buenos Aires’ highway system and convert it into building material. But that’s not the only eco-friendly aspect of Eden Falls – they also plan to efficiently clean river water while they’re at it. The building will consist of open-air floors with an enormous pipe running up through the center of it, a bit like a spine. The building will suck up water from the nearby river, filter out the pollutants, and then unleash the water at the top of the building.
The water has nowhere to go but down, cascading over the edges of the building in a constant waterfall stream that creates the “walls” of the building. It’s kind of like this digital water pavilion, except on a much grander scale.
Each of the floors will exist as its own habitat for a variety of species. One floor might have lions, while another floor might have trees and free-roaming giraffes. Some of the more adventurous creatures, like birds and monkeys, will be able to freely roam about the building and travel from one floor to the next. As if that wasn’t already cool enough, the top of the building will have an interactive dolphin infinity pool.
I’m not sure how I feel about this building. The concept art is absolutely gorgeous and the the idea of a waterfall-zoo-skyscraper is sure to attract thousands of tourists, but I just don’t see how VisionDivision can possibly pull this off — there are just too many weird logistical issues.
First of all, how are they supposed to cultivate habitats for these plants and creatures that live in the building? Are they relying entirely on the instinctual fear of gravity from keeping these creatures from plummeting to their doom? I’m also a little bit concerned about the plants. It’s hard to say because we don’t know have another waterfall building to make a comparison, but I’m not sure if plants will get enough light when they’ve got a ceiling directly above them and waterfalls blocking off the sun.
The bigger question is how they’re going to make a the building entirely self sufficient. They can use the nearby river to generate electricity, but constantly pumping up river water is going to take a massive amount of energy. VisionDivision mentioned that they plan to include turbines as the water falls over the sides of the building, but any physicist will quickly tell you that perpetual motion machines are physically impossible. At most, those turbines could only cut down some of the energy costs associated with moving around so much water.
So, what can we say about Eden Falls? Is this building more idealistic than it is practical, or is this the world’s next best zoo just waiting to be built? I certainly hope it’s the latter. There’s just something about a lion hanging out on a ledge with a shimmering sheet of water falling down behind him that makes me feel like I’m watching a scene from The Lion King.